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Extent of Highway Capacity Loss Due to Rainfall

Authors: Hashim Mohammed Alhassan, Johnnie Ben-Edigbe


Traffic flow in adverse weather conditions have been investigated in this study for general traffic, week day and week end traffic. The empirical evidence is strong in support of the view that rainfall affects macroscopic traffic flow parameters. Data generated from a basic highway section along J5 in Johor Bahru, Malaysia was synchronized with 161 rain events over a period of three months. This revealed a 4.90%, 6.60% and 11.32% reduction in speed for light rain, moderate rain and heavy rain conditions respectively. The corresponding capacity reductions in the three rainfall regimes are 1.08% for light rain, 6.27% for moderate rain and 29.25% for heavy rain. In the week day traffic, speed drops of 8.1% and 16.05% were observed for light and heavy conditions. The moderate rain condition speed increased by 12.6%. The capacity drops for week day traffic are 4.40% for light rain, 9.77% for moderate rain and 45.90% for heavy rain. The weekend traffic indicated speed difference between the dry condition and the three rainy conditions as 6.70% for light rain, 8.90% for moderate rain and 13.10% for heavy rain. The capacity changes computed for the weekend traffic were 0.20% in light rain, 13.90% in moderate rain and 16.70% in heavy rain. No traffic instabilities were observed throughout the observation period and the capacities reported for each rain condition were below the norain condition capacity. Rainfall has tremendous impact on traffic flow and this may have implications for shock wave propagation.

Keywords: Highway Capacity, rainfall intensity, Dry condition, Rainy condition, Traffic Flow Rate

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